The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has urged a House committee to reject proposals that could force military families and veterans to get prescriptions via mail order, possibly hiking costs for the TRICARE program.


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NACDS: Don't force TRICARE patients to mail order

May 22nd, 2013

ARLINGTON, Va. – The National Association of Chain Drug Stores has urged a House committee to reject proposals that could force military families and veterans to get prescriptions via mail order, possibly hiking costs for the TRICARE program.

NACDS said Wednesday that it sent a letter to the leaders of the House Armed Services Committee's Military Personnel Subcommittee as a House subcommittee was set to draft the fiscal year 2014 National Defense Authorization Act.

"NACDS is writing to express our concerns with proposals in the president's FY2014 budget that would increase health care costs for the Department of Defense [DoD], place significant financial burdens on TRICARE beneficiaries, and threaten access to local pharmacies," NACDS president and chief executive officer Steve Anderson wrote in the letter.

He noted that the budget calls for further changes to pharmacy co-payments beyond those made last October. The changes aim to shift TRICARE patients away from local pharmacies and into the TRICARE mail order pharmacy, which NACDS said would curtail the ability of beneficiaries to get nonformulary medications from their neighborhood pharmacy.

"According to DoD's own analysis, in the case of generic medications, mail order is more expensive than the retail pharmacy network," Anderson explained in the letter. "Pharmacy co-payments are encouraging TRICARE beneficiaries to obtain generic prescription drugs from the more expensive outlet."

He added that NACDS aims to work with Congress, DoD and TRICARE beneficiaries on policies that would rein in prescription spending while preserving choice of pharmacy.

"We support availability of generic, formulary and nonformulary medications in both the retail and mail order settings. Rather than driving TRICARE beneficiaries to mail order even when it is more costly to the department," he stated, "we favor encouraging beneficiaries to use the most cost-effective medication that meets their needs, obtained from their choice of pharmacy provider."

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